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Editor's Note: Update on Recent CMP Block Issues

Mar 27, 2004, 00:00 (23 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

When the week started, I was dealing with a lot of news, a freelancer out in Utah, and a publishing company that had decided to block our links to one of their Web sites. Rolling up my sleeves, I set to work on all of these challenges, confident that I could makes some accomplishments.

Well, the news went out without too many hitches and the freelancer at BrainShare has turned in some good copy. The publishing company...? Well, two out of three isn't bad, right?

Discussions between CMP Media and myself went back and forth via e-mail until Wednesday of this week. We each sought a fair resolution to the problem before us: what constituted fair use of CMP's material. Unfortunately, our ideas of what constitutes fair use were vastly different. CMP not only objected to the amount of material being excerpted from their articles, but they also had strong reservations about the current design and layout of articles on Linux Today.

At this point, I decided that this wasn't worth the effort. CMP Media is host to some excellent sites with good writers--but the simple truth is, their content is not unique. If CMP has chosen to protect their sites intellectual property by blocking links from certain referring sites, then that is certainly their right. But the inconvenience they have created for LT readers is too much.

Linux Today does not feel it has infringed on the copyright of CMP Media or any other content provider, as we abide by fair use under US copyright law. I think we do a pretty good job: in the 11,310 stories I have personally posted since working for Linux Today, there have only been two complaints of over-excerpting, and this was the second. Still, I have no plans to rest on this good record: Linux Today respects the copyrights of all of the content providers to which we link and will continually work to maintain that policy.

Linux Today is here to provide a service: to serve as a central clearinghouse for Linux- and open-source-related information for its readers and to drive traffic to Web sites providing that information. Some would argue that since we advertise and make money from this practice, we are benefiting from other people's copy. To this, I would put forth this statement: on a given day, the work we do alerts readers to an average of 27 stories and most of the sites we link to are glad to have the exposure.

CMP's decision to block Linux Today links has led me to stipulate this policy: from now on, Linux Today will refrain from linking to any CMP Media sites for news and information.

I am sure CMP Media has their own opinion of Linux Today, and I know from the tenor of our discussions that it is not a very positive one. While that is regrettable, we can stand with a clear conscience. Perhaps they will even publish their own interpretation of these events, which will give their side of the story.

I look forward to reading such a statement... too bad we can't link to it.

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